Cyclist Seriously Injured in Head-On with Pickup in Glen Ellen
A 60-year-old cyclist is in serious condition after he was struck by a 2019 Dodge Ram pickup truck coming toward him. According to the California Highway Patrol, the cyclist was riding his Trek bike around 4:50 p.m., Friday, June 21, 2019, on the right side of the road with traffic coming toward him. He was at the intersection of London Ranch Road and Chauvet Road when the accident happened.
The driver of the truck stuck around and cooperated with the CHP who are still investigating the crash. So far, no charges have been brought, but investigators are still trying to figure out why the truck collided with the cyclist.
In-Traffic Bicycle Accidents
In the Bay Area, cyclists have around 1,200 miles of bicycle lanes, but there are too many roads for all to have bike lanes. Several studies show that riding in a bike lane cuts the risk of an accident by as much as 50 percent, and by 90 percent if the lane is protected. However, the majority of bike riding in the Bay Area happens on the streets in the same lanes as the cars.
Cyclists Streets and the Law
Under California law, a cyclist is treated as vehicle. This means that when bikes are out in the street riding with the cars, trucks and buses, have to obey the same traffic laws, and a cyclist can get a ticket the same as a motor vehicle driver.
What if I’m Injured Outside a Bike Lane?
So, does this mean that if the cyclist is not riding in the same direction of traffic and it gets in an accident it’s the cyclist’s fault? This seems to make sense because if a car was traveling on the far right of a lane going the opposite direction of traffic and another car hit it head-on, it seems that the wrong-way driver would be at fault.
But the difference there is that bike is not treated the same as any other vehicle for determining liability in an accident. In fact, California law actually prohibits a ticket or conviction of a traffic violation to be used to confer liability on someone who was injured in an accident.
Rather, in civil court, the law requires anyone seeking compensation from another person to prove that the other person was negligent. This coupled with the law that requires all motor vehicle drivers to use due caution when traveling around cyclists and pedestrians. Thus, when when a cyclist is riding on the right side going against traffic, it doesn’t mean that the cyclist is at fault, and if the driver isn’t using due caution, then the fault can be on that driver.
What do I do if I’m Injured by a Motor Vehicle?
The best thing to do is to talk to an attorney who can evaluate your specific case and see if you have a claim for compensation. Don’t assume that you have no claim especially if the driver’s insurance company has told you that is was your fault and that that they aren’t going to pay.
At Bay Area Bicycle Law, we have years of experience representing clients in all sorts of bicycle related injuries including comparative fault cases. Start putting someone on your side, call us at (415) 466 8717 or click here to contact us online. If you still wonder if we’re the right firm for you or even if you need an attorney, read this this for help answering these questions.